Friday, July 21, 2017

Memories of Victoria, British Columbia

By Cal Orey

Early July I found myself  keeping true to a vow and going to Victoria, British Columbia. I didn't know what to expect but whatever the trip brought me I knew it would be sweet solitude. After living at Lake Tahoe for almost two decades I finally get it. During the Fourth of July if you're not a tourist it's the time to take a vacation.

The thing is, while I craved quietude I did want a bit more excitement. Probably the most intense moments were when I was searched at the airport (blame it on jewelry), and the stowaway on a CRJ700 en route to Victoria. Not sure if the crew found the extra passenger but we were delayed 30 minutes.
Okay so I didn't follow the flock. I was going to go the popular Butchart Gardens but I truly prefer aquariums like the one in Vancouver. I didn't want to be sandwiched in between strangers on a van for more than one hour.  It was my idea to enjoy an impromptu, scenic time viewing seaplane rides (I should have done that), and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest which always includes water. 

Mine Every Morning
The memories I'll always cherish are the water moments: Swimming every morning and taking a hot tub without a soul; making contact with a solitary seal at Fisherman's Wharf; and taking a boat tour on the Gorge--it flows to the Inner Harbour and the open Pacific Ocean, my lifeline to the Golden State. I wished the swells were larger and water choppier but it was calming. Less than more people were on the boat as we listened to the captain spin tales of the inlet. 

Viewing local on kayaks reminded me of Tahoe as well as ducks and a few swimmers. But I admit I was bit by the boat bug. Decades ago my former significant other at the time took us to Catalina. I was hesitant to take the ferry due to listening to people who warned me about choppy water. The way over was a smooth ride as well as coming back to Long Island. Also, we rented a small boat (which almost capsized) but it was fun.
So this trip on the water was a fun one for me mixing memories of the past and present. Yet it made me wonder, "Why didn't I book the whale adventure?" Now that would have most likely presented more feelings of excitement.

Speaking of booking trips, I canceled the "tea experience" at The Empress. After all, I finished writing the book on tea, literally, and have more types of tea in my pantry than they offer. However, I did sit in the restaurant--not the tea room--and ordered white tea and a tossed salad. The tea was another unforgettable experience that I took home with me.
As I sit here in the mountains amid towering pine trees I'm craving a city and water environment. Perhaps this yearning comes from going to school at San Francisco and spending so many years there. I supposed my future travels can give me that boost of water that I love but maybe it's a sign to move on. Toying with the Northeast--Maine to Montreal--late fall. I long for diversity. And it may in reality be just 200 miles south of me in San Francisco. Maybe a book tour for The Healing Powers of Tea in January is going to be my next trip out of the Sierra--a sweet solace spot.

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